The target population is street vendors in market places and along major urban thoroughfares. These vendors, who form a substantial percentage of Ghana’s informal economy, work long hours in the hot sun, many of them earning less than $3 per day. In major cities they are often internal migrants seeking to find their footing in a challenging competitive environment, made even more difficult by onerous taxes and fees, a lack of support services and little leverage over the prices of the products they sell.
Specifically, the project will target the growing number of mobile recharge vendors. These vendors sell the vast majority of “recharge cards” to the Ghanaians who hold over 29 million Ghanaian mobile phone subscriptions – 95% of whom are prepaid customers.
These street vendors are, therefore, a vital part of the mobile phone economy. As an example, MTN, the largest Ghanaian operator, with 50% of the country’s subscription base, has 260,000 people in their distribution chain, the vast majority of whom are in the project’s target population.
By providing the target population with a new and valued service to offer in the ever expanding mobile telecommunications sector, the project anticipates having a measurable positive effect on street vendor income.
Further, the project’s mobile Solar Charging System, Sunana℠, will expand this income stream to beneficiaries in smaller cities and towns that do not have the grid infrastructure to support efficient recharging of mobile phones. Finally, the Sunana℠ secure lock box should help to protect the street vendor from the well-documented problem of street theft and provide a much-needed source of power for lighting when the beneficiary returns home.